The professional basketball team Miami Heat seem to be a bit upset with their league, the National Basketball Association, for not informing them of a planned basketball clinic in Cuba.
Now that the United States and Cuba relations are getting a little better (still a long way to go, but…) the NBA has decided to take advantage of the positive rapport. Along with FIBA (International Basketball Federation), the league will host a four-day developmental camp in Havana, April 23-26.
The Miami Heat, the only organization out of 30 NBA teams that won’t participate in the activity, vehemently opposes the trip. Why do you ask? Well, let’s say the organization has a small but very loud Cuban fan base that won’t appreciate any association with the Castro-led Cuba that had forced them out of their beloved homeland.
According to Heat executives, they didn’t even know about the trip until they read it in the newspapers. The executives said they were surprised that the NBA – knowing of their fan base – did not first speak to them, at least out of courtesy. “The NBA never consulted with us. This was undertaken unilaterally. The minute we found out we registered our vehement objection to the league office. Neither the Heat nor any personnel will be participating,” a team executive said to the Miami Herald.
Heat owner Micky Arison, team president and NBA Hall of Famer Pat Riley declined to comment.
“In the continued effort to strengthen our national federations, it is extremely gratifying to see Cuba serve as the center of a development camp of this magnitude,” said FIBA President Horacio Muratore during the NBA’s first Cuba trip announcement.
“This is a country that loves basketball and we are proud to work together with the NBA on this historic venture.”